The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

May 21, 2013

Northern Spark is rallying community support for this year's festival in Lowertown

Posted by sschouweiler

I'm going to swap my journalist's hat for that of an advocate today, but it's in the service of a good cause (and one, full disclosure, in which I'm a participant as part of my day job with Northern Spark, the one-night-only, nuit blanche-style, public arts festival will be held in St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood this year, and they could sure use some community support to pull it off.

Jim Campbell, "Scattered Light," Northern Spark, 2011.
Photo by Dusty Hoskovec

Northern, the nonprofit behind the festival, is in the midst of  a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to support the 2013 festival's artists and programs: "Thousands of people. Hundreds of artists. Wondrous art made from light, amazing temporary sculptures, once-in-a-lifetime performances. Friendly crowds, food trucks, late night adventures. It's your city as you've always known it, but for one night in June it becomes a magical place that shows you its secrets and possibilities through art."

The pitch from NS organizers goes on:

Northern Spark creates an accessible art experience like nothing else in our region. It's designed for the whole community to enjoy together, bringing exciting contemporary art out into the streets for all to see, and creating a platform for experimentation for hundreds of local and national artists. And it's free. But something as good as Northern Spark is definitely not free to produce. We need your financial support.
But according to the festival's associate director, Sarah Peters, they're currently falling a bit short of their fundraising goals. The good news is, now through May 28, individual Kickstarter pledges will be doubled thanks to a matching grant: "$10 becomes $20! $20 becomes $40! You get it," she writes.
The match money is coming from the Smaby Family Foundation to match gifts to Kickstarter to help us close the gap on the campaign. The match funds are available through 11:59 pm Tuesday, May 28, and the Kickstarter ends at 11:59 pm on May 31. All the Kickstarter-raised funds go to artists-- for their fees and production costs for their projects.
The festival has proven itself to be public art programming with broad community reach, deftly mixing  popular spectacle with genuine artistry and tons of local artists' contributions; if you're looking to get big cultural bang out of a few dollars' donation, Northern Spark is well worth your support.

Michael Murnane, "Under Ice," Northern Spark, 2012. Photo: Patrick Kelley. Michael Murnane, "Under Ice," Northern Spark, 2012.
Photo by Patrick Kelley

Find the Kickstarter page for Northern Spark here: For information about how to get involved, as a visitor or as a volunteer, in this year's night-long event - from dusk on June 8 to the morning of June 9 throughout St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood - visit the main website:

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